There are endless schemes for improving education, from testing to vouchers to charter schools to standards and back to testing again. There's one simple step, though, that isn't on the list of de rigeur reforms that would decrease education costs and increase the relevance and breadth of the curriculum. That step is letting copyrights lapse.
As Timothy B. Lee wrote last week at the Washington Post, we've just passed the 15 year anniversary of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. That law retroactively put another 20 years onto all works due to enter the public domain. It ensured that iconic songs by Gershwin and, iconic properties like Mickey Mouse would remain private property for another two decades. Extending copyright provided an enormous windfall to those owners. The money and incentives being what they are, it seems likely that Disney and others who stand to profit will lobby Congress to extend copyright even further the Sonny Bono Act lapses five years from now.